Financial Empowerment Services Program Closure
It is with heavy hearts we inform you that Willowbridge’s Financial Empowerment Program will be closing effective December 31, 2021. Our Board of Directors conducted a comprehensive review and evaluated the loss of funding to the program we have experienced over many years. After much thoughtful consideration, the Board of Directors passed a motion to close the program, meaning Willowbridge will no longer provide financial guidance, administer the Low Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), or the Ontario Energy Support Program (OESP).
Credit Counselling (as it was originally called) was first offered at Willowbridge (Family Counselling Centre of Brant) over 40 years ago. It was designed to support individuals and families to acquire the skills necessary for financial stability to alleviate the stress of over-indebtedness and promote emotional well-being. Services were provided by a licensed Credit Counsellor and Accredited by Credit Counselling Canada and included offerings such as Money Management Education, funded by Brant United Way; “Mind Your Own Budget” funded by the City of Brantford; Debt Repayment Programs funded by the client’s creditor(s); and more.
Over the past 5 years there has been a gradual erosion of funding in all dimensions of the Financial Empowerment Program, including the aforementioned services, and most recently the discontinuation of United Way funding beginning this fiscal year (2021/2022) as a result of changes in United Way’s investment and business model.
Please know that we do not take these decisions lightly, and we are deeply saddened that we will no longer be able to offer this important service to the community. While we regret that these services are no longer available at Willowbridge, we do want you to be aware of other community supports that are available to assist you:
|LEAP– Brant Power||519-751-3522 Brant Power||Brant Power will direct you to an agency that is administering the LEAP program|
|LEAP– Energy Plus||519-621-3530||Energy Plus will direct you to an agency that is administering the LEAP program|
|LEAP– Hydro One||1-855-487-5327||United Way of Greater Simcoe administers the LEAP program for Hydro customers|
|LEAP– Gas Enbridge
(formally Union Gas)
|1-855-487-5327||Enbridge will direct you to an agency that is administering the LEAP program|
|OESP– Ontario Energy Support Program||1-855-831-8151||The Ontario Energy Board will direct you to an agency for support|
|Utilities and Rent Resources– Salvation Army Housing Stability (formally the BBHPA program)||519-802-4332||Salvation Army may be able to provide resources and support|
|Information regarding our former Debt Management Program||1-800-267-2272||Credit Canada will be able to support you.|
|Budgeting– Brant Skills Centre may provide groups to the community||519-758-1664||Brant Skills Centre may have groups/programs available to assist with Budgeting skills|
While we are saddened by the loss of the Financial Empowerment program and any inconvenience this may cause, we would like to extend our sincerest thank you for using services at Willowbridge. Stay safe and have a wonderful holiday season.